It was on her way home that Gaz heard the sounds.
Skool had been let out early due to the not-so-innocent explosion of the boy's bathroom, leaving only one cracked toilet bowl standing. Ordinarily that wouldn't have been a problem, except that the explosion had also blown a hole in the roof that let the freezing winter air inside. As the skool had no real heating system, all of the students had to be let go before everyone had turned into Popcicles and the skool system was sued. Gaz had seen this as a prime opportunity to head into the city and buy the latest GameSlave2 game, Vampire Piggy Hunter 3: Return of Count Hogulator. This time there had been no annoying 'Iggins' to stop her, so it had been a rather uneventful trip there and back, at least until she had neared her house.
The girl slowed down her walking a little, listening intently. The only reason she wasn't playing the game safe in her jacket pocket was because she didn't want any dumbasses trying to come up and steal it. Not that there would be many, seeing as there was a snowstorm warning over the entire town. Any dumbasses would freeze.
The sound she had heard earlier started up again, somewhat over to her left in a group of trees that the city had decided to plant to make the place more aesthetically pleasing. Seeing as it was winter, none of the trees had any leaves and therefore looked like spindly things escaped from one's nightmares. Just the kind of things that Gaz liked. The sound was coming from somewhere behind the first row of trees where Gaz couldn't see easily. It sounded like somebody struggling with something. Though her house was a mere sixty feet away and the game was burning a hole in her pocket, Gaz decided to investigate.
Walking into the small wood, Gaz found whom it was making the sounds after the third tree she passed. The person was her size, wearing a bright fuchsia top, black gloves, and black pants and boots. One of these boots seemed to be caught in something, as the person kept pulling at it and grunting. Also notable about them was their pale green skin. Gaz smirked to herself. She should've known it was Zim doing something stupid.
"What are you doing?" She asked bluntly, causing the alien to shriek and jump. The jump reached the limit of whatever was on his leg, and consequently he fell on his butt in the layer of snow already on the ground, exposed antennae flattening against his skull. His wig lie discarded several feet away. Gaz had to stifle another smirk. That idiot.
"Gaz-human! What are you doing here?!" Zim yelled, jumping back to his feet with an oddly metallic clink and pointing viciously at the girl. Gaz jerked a thumb back over her shoulder.
"I live right over there," she replied flatly. Zim stared at her for a moment before she asked again. "What are you doing?"
"None of your business, Earth-stink!" He declared hotly, turning his back on Gaz and continuing to do whatever it was he was doing. Not at all threatened Gaz took a step forward to see what he was messing with on his right foot.
It was a bear trap. An honest-to-metal bear trap, its thick black jaws clamped firmly around Zim's ankle. The chain ended three feet away in a steel peg set deep into the ground. As Gaz watched, Zim again tried pulling his leg as far as it could go, eventually scrabbling at the edge of it's jaws in an attempt to pry them open. Gaz raised an eyebrow at him.
"A bear trap, Zim?" she asked with a teasing note in her voice. The Invader glared at her.
"Shut up! It's not my fault I'm stuck!" he yelled indignantly. Gaz shook her head.
"Right. How'd you end up with a bear trap on your leg?" she asked, crossing her arms. Zim flinched and glanced off to his left.
"I fell on it," he growled. Gaz smirked and raised an eyebrow again.
'How did you do that?"
"I was in the tree looking for your stoo-pid brother when something cold hit me in the head and I fell out of the tree and landed on it!" Zim yelled, flushing a slightly darker shade of green. Gaz's smirk stayed on her face as she nodded.
"Right…why can't you use a laser on it?" she asked. Zim glared at her.
"Because, Gaz-beast, that would burn Zim's foot off! And it's too slippery to grip, too!"
Gaz sighed. "Looks like you're stuck," she said, starting toward him. She stopped when Zim practically snarled at her. "What do you think you're doing?!" he exclaimed, eyeing her distrustfully. Gaz gave him a flat look.
"I going to help you," she said. Zim's antennae flattened and he glared at her.
"Invaders need no one! I will get myself out without your pathetic help!" he exclaimed, as though daring her to object. He flicked one hand at her in a shooing motion, as if dismissing her.
Gaz stared at him for a moment, shocked, before her expression darkened. Without a word she turned around and headed out of the wood, leaving Zim alone with the bear trap. The Invader stared after her, then turned his attention to the barbaric metal contraption holding his leg hostage. Pulling away as far as he could, Zim took a sharp breath as the steel jaws finally cut through the material of his boot and began sinking into the flesh underneath. Quickly he knelt and tried to pry the thing open, but there was nothing there for his claws to grip. Momentarily defeated, the Irken sat back against the tree and glared at the small demented smiley face stamped on the side of the bear trap. Stupid smiley, it was mocking him! Mocking Zim with its infernal metal trap. He growled at it as a gust of cold air blew into his face, drying his contacts and causing his eyes to sting. He removed the annoying lenses, then went back to work trying to escape the jaws of the metal bear trap.
He would not be beaten by a smiley face!
One hour and twenty-three minutes since Gaz had gotten home, and she was still on level six of her video game. It was a new record in failure for her.
Gaz glared at the screen as it flashed the words 'Game Over' at her in blood red text for what seemed like the thirty-millionth time that night. Sighing, she flipped the console off and stared out the living room window. Dib had phoned earlier, something about an alien convention and spending the night at a hotel. Of course Dad wasn't there. Professor Membrane had much more important things to do than to spend time with his family. So it was just Gaz, alone, with nothing but the TV, a video game, and….
She groaned and banged her head back onto the couch cushion. Dammit! Her and her need to be nice at least once in her life. Gaz knew without doubt that Zim was still stuck in that bear trap outside. She also knew that it would be getting dark in about another half an hour, and a blizzard was expected that night. Put two and two together and you get an idiot alien Popsicle.
True to her anti-social nature, Gaz managed to watch TV for another ten minutes until she just couldn't take it anymore. Her conscience had decided to annoy her today instead being killed by TV like it should be. With a growl the girl dropped the remote on the couch and stalked off deeper into the house. A few moments later, and she returned with a crowbar in one hand and a flashlight in the other. Also draped over her arm was one of Dib's trenchcoats, as Zim would probably be halfway frozen by now. Gaz pulled on her own jacket as she left the door.
Outside she was greeted by an icy blast of wind that almost tore the coat from her hands until she wrapped it around the crowbar. Even though sunset was a little ways off, the sky was already dark with lots of clouds. Gaz glared at the sky as a few snowflakes began falling and took off for the small clump of bare trees across the road. Once there she looked around for the alien that she knew was still there.
Zim was a little hard for her to spot at first, as he was sitting on the ground and half-covered by snow. The Invader had worked as far back out of the wind as he could with the amount of chain attached to the bear trap, which wasn't much. It seemed as though he had mostly given up on trying to escape the trap and was now just trying to stay warm, though Gaz could tell that he was still alive due to the stream issuing from his mouth and how badly he was shaking. Curled up with his arms around the knee that he could get to his chest, it wasn't until Gaz shined her flashlight on his face that his antennae perked a little and he half-opened one red eye to stare at her. Gaz smirked slightly as she approached him.
"Are you sure you don't need any help?" she asked in a slightly teasing tone of voice, dropping the stolen trenchcoat over him. Zim didn't reply, merely put the coat on and wrapped it around as much of himself as he could. Gaz waited until he was done, then walked over to the trap with the crowbar in her hand. Nothing has changed; it was still made of solid steel and still clamped firmly around Zim's leg. Now, though, there were patches of something pale pink frozen to both the jaws of the trap and Zim's leg. Judging by Zim's slight hiss when she touched it, Gaz has to assume that the steel trap was now cutting into his leg. Great. Glancing at Zim, she surprised herself by being relieved to find the Irken slightly more alert than when she found him, though he was still shaking badly. "I'm going to use this to pry it open, okay?" she asked, holding up the crowbar demonstratively. Zim nodded. His brain wasn't too frozen to figure out the implied message; that it was probably going to hurt.
Working as quickly as possible, Gaz inserted the end of the crowbar into the trap's jaws and pried them open, allowing Zim to finally get his foot out. Gaz then let the trap close again with a sickening snap. "So that's done," she said, standing up and glancing down at Zim. "Can you get up?"
The alien frowned and tried standing, putting little weight on his injured leg and leaning on the nearby tree for support. "I don't think I can walk…" he admitted, glaring at the bear trap now lying innocently in the snow. So intent was he on psychically destroying it that he didn't notice Gaz until she was standing directly in front of him. The surprise made him yelp and almost fall down again, Gaz catching his arm before he could. The girl smirked.
"Do you need help now?" she asked. Zim turned his glare on her.
"Human, I feel that I require some….assistance," he ground out, looking off and finding his foot very interesting. Gaz snorted. That would probably be the closest she would get to having the alien ask for her help. Without a word she took his right arm and slung it over her shoulder, giving him something to lean on while they walked back to her house. Of course Zim was a little surprised at the destination, but a quick glance down at his injured leg gave him the answer. He wouldn't make it halfway home before becoming an Invader-sicle. Didn't stop him from being nervous as they entered the Membrane household. Gaz had to stifle a snicker as the alien looked around neurotically like he suspected Dib to fly out of the ceiling at him.
"He's not here," she said, letting his arm go and almost laughing again when he nearly fell over. There was a ripping sound, and four spider-like legs shot out of the thing on his back under the trenchcoat to prevent him from falling over. With a satisfied smirk, probably for messing up one of Dib's jackets, he used the spider appendages to get to the couch. Gaz shook her head and went upstairs, leaving Zim with the TV remote. She returned a moment later without her jacket and a blanket in her arms. This she threw at Zim, as the alien was still shaking and had a frosted looked, then went into the kitchen. Zim wrapped the blanket around himself and was content to just sit there until his body temperature raised a bit. Invader uniforms had a thermal coil in them that was supposed to adjust based on the temperature of the Irken's environment, but even they had a limit. The coils were made for mild to moderate shifts in temperature, not standing outside in the middle of winter twiddling your thumbs. Trekking across the desert unprotected was also out of the coils' ability.
Zim jumped as Gaz plopped down on the other end of the couch, a mug of something steaming in each hand. One mug labeled 'Thank You For Visiting the Crazy House for Boys - We'll Probably See You Again Soon!'-under which was the picture of a very demented smiley face-was handed to Zim, and he sniffed the pale brown liquid in it suspiciously. "What's this?" he asked. Gaz raised an eyebrow at him.
"Seriously, you've never had hot chocolate? No weird alien equivalent?" she asked, amazed. Zim growled at her.
"No, I can't eat Earth filth. What is it?"
Gaz shook her head, hiding her smile. "Good. Just try it, you'll probably like it. It'll warm you up, too," she said, taking a sip of her own drink to demonstrate. Zim glared at her for a moment longer, suspicious, then took his own sip of the frothy liquid. It was hot and burned his tongue, but it was sweet. With a happy squeal he took a large gulp and almost choked as the scalding liquid burned his throat. Still, it did warm him up, and for that he was grateful. Gaz shook her head.
"You idiot," she said. Zim cocked an antenna at her and glared, adopting a brooding position over his hot chocolate like he was afraid she'd take it away. Gaz shook her head again and turned the TV on. It happened to be on the weather.
"- and the blizzard is expected to continue until tomorrow morning, so stay inside and keep warm! This has been Channel 9-" Gaz turned the TV off with a growl. Great. She was stuck with a crazy alien until tomorrow morning. Next to her on the couch said alien looked like he was about to have one of his famous fits.
"T-tomorrow?! I can't stay here until tomorrow! The Dib-!"
"Dib won't be back until tomorrow. He's stuck because of the blizzard too, so you've got time to get back to your house," Gaz said, cutting him off with a glare. Zim looked as though he had more to say, but instead just took another sip of his hot chocolate and glared at her. Gaz snorted and turned the TV back on, this time changing it to a movie about aliens invading the earth to steal humans' brains. The two sat there and watched that for a while.
Two hours later, Zim yawned and stretched his arms out of his blanket nest as the credits rolled. "That was pathetic," he mumbled sleepily, snuggling back down into the blanket. On the other end of the couch Gaz snorted and stood up, walking over to the TV and messing with something underneath it. Zim yelped and was shocked out of his sleepy stupor as something black hit him in the head. The black thing was connected to a box underneath the TV by a cord. Gaz held the other one.
"Want to play a game, Zim?" she asked, a cocky smirk on her face. Zim grumbled a bit, rubbing the spot on his head where the game controller had hit him and picking the controller up with his other hand.
"Fine! Zim will beat you at your pathetic game, Gaz-human!"
Several hours later, and Zim was eating those words.
The Irken yelled and flung his controller at the screen as it flashed the words "You Lose" for what felt like the millionth time. Next to him Gaz smirked at Zim's loss of temper. And lack of any sort of gaming skill.
"Stupid human controller! There are too many buttons!" he yelled, bouncing up and down on the couch.
"Maybe you just don't have enough fingers," Gaz said. Zim stopped bouncing and glared at her.
"No, humans just have too many! What are you going to do with five fingers, huh? Three is a perfect number," he claimed, wiggling his own fingers as proof.
"Maybe we use our five fingers to play video games," Gaz snorted. "You can't do much with only three fingers."
"Oh yeah? I bet you've got five toes, too!" challenged Zim. Gaz had to raise an eyebrow at this statement.
"Yeah…humans do have five toes on each foot. Why? How many toes do you have?"
"Two," Zim said proudly. Gaz snorted and stared at the Irken.
"You have two toes? Seriously?" she said incredulously..
"Yes, I do."
"Show me," she challenged with a smirk on her face. Zim glared at her and stripped off his left boot.
"See?" he said, wiggling his toes. Gaz stared at his foot before actually laughing.
"You have two toes!" she laughed, much to Zim's annoyance. He couldn't figure out why she found his feet so funny. Confused, the Irken looked down at his foot but couldn't find anything wrong with it. Shrugging, he pulled his boot back on and glared at Gaz.
"I told you. Zim has two toes, and that's all the toes Zim needs!" he exclaimed. "I don't know what you're laughing at." Gaz finally stopped laughing and shook her head, a smirk still on her face.
"I didn't think you actually had two toes," she said. Zim snorted and snuggled down into his blanket.
"Well I do. So there," he said. Gaz shook her head again.
"You're weird, Zim," she commented. The alien yawned and looked at her sleepily.
"Zim is tired. Make silence now, Gaz-human," he said, flopping over and curling up under his blanket. Gaz snorted and turned the TV off. She glanced over at the Irken, who opened one ruby eye to glare at her.
"Fine, I guess you can spend the night on the couch," she said. The eye closed. Gaz watched Zim for a couple more seconds. When he didn't do anything else except for flick an antenna she got up off the couch and went upstairs, not before noting that it was already eleven o' clock. That was as good a time to go to bed as any.
The next morning Gaz came downstairs to find Zim still passed out on the couch. A quick glance out the window revealed that it the blizzard from the previous night was over, which meant that Dib would be coming home soon. Gaz walked over to the end of the couch Zim was on and, after a bit of deliberation, gently poked the alien in the antenna. He came to with a start.
"Hey," she said, "it's time for you to get up." Zim moaned and rolled over, burying his face in the couch cushion. Gaz frowned and poked him again. This time he tried to fend her off with one hand and wound up falling off the couch. Gaz snorted and went into the kitchen, leaving the alien to collect himself on the floor. Zim groggily got to his feet and, with the blanket wrapped around himself like a cape, followed Gaz into the kitchen. The girl was already pouring herself a bowl of cereal and smirked when she saw the alien.
"Sleep well?" she asked. Zim made a noncommittal noise and just stared at her. "You should go home. Dib will be home soon, and I assume that your leg is all better."
Zim glanced down at the appendage as if checking its condition. "How can I get home if I don't have my disguise?" he asked.
"You still have your contact lenses, right?" Gaz asked. Zim nodded. "I'll let you borrow a hat. But you better give it back," she warned. Zim nodded and waited as she went upstairs and recovered a black baseball cap with a skull on it. With his lenses in he could make it home without detection. "You can keep Dib's jacket," Gaz continued as he looked it over. "I doubt he'll miss it."
"I...thank you," Zim muttered, chucking his blanket on to the couch. Gaz raised an eyebrow.
"Did I just receive a thank you from the Almighty Zim?" she teased. Zim glared at her.
"Don't push it, Gaz-human," he growled. She just shook her head and started eating her cereal. After a few seconds Zim began to get a little nervous.
"So, uh, I'll see you at skool…" he said. Gaz just waved at him with her spoon. A short time later, and she heard the front door open and close.
It was several minutes after Zim had left that the door again opened, signaling that Dib was back from his alien convention. Gaz didn't react as her brother entered the kitchen.
"Hey Gaz! You should've been there! They had all this awesome stuff! There was this one guy that…"Dib started up talking as soon as he entered the kitchen. Gaz just sort of tuned him out, instead choosing to wonder if Zim was home by now and what he might be doing. Probably coming up with a new conquer the world scheme.
"By the way Gaz," Dib broke from his recap rant, catching Gaz's attention. He was sitting at the table now with his own bowl of cereal. "Do you know if I caught anything in my trap?"
"Trap...?" Gaz's eyebrow twitched, but Dib didn't notice.
"Yeah. I set a bear trap in the woods across the road. I thought it would be a good place to catch werewolves and stuff, but because of the blizzard I couldn't find out if I caught anything." Gaz sat where she was for a moment, then without a word scooted her chair back and left the kitchen. Dib watched her leave with a puzzled look, but shrugged and went back to eating his cereal.
Gaz smirked as Dib's face crashed into the table. The motion was helpfully initiated by the crowbar in Gaz's hand. Leaving Dib unconscious on the table, she went into the living room and dropped the crowbar on the couch. She then pulled on her jacket and left the house.
She'd go find out what Zim was doing.
Isn't Gaz nice? She leaves her unconcious, concussioned brother just lying on the table.
Inspration for this fic came from Da Mongoose's Blizzard, which differs in there's more ZAGR and Zim has his butt frozen to a park bench. Can't resist a story like that.
So, my first ZAGRish fic. Like it? Hate it? Leave a review!